In 2016 we visited SA for the first time as a “once in a lifetime holiday” – two years later and here we are again having enjoyed it so much. This time we chose to visit a slightly different area and found ourselves choosing KwaZulu for our two week trip.
Our itinerary looked something like this – 3 nights at Oribi Gorge Private Game Lodge and Spa, 3 nights in Umhlanga Rocks, 4 nights in St Lucia and 3 nights safari at Rhino River Lodge. Overall we drove about 700 miles – easy, relaxed driving that caused us no problems.
A truly beautiful area and the Private Game Lodge and Spa is exceptional. The staff can’t do enough for you and all requests were met with a smile. The views and the food are to die for and you will leave feeling relaxed and pampered. Whilst here we visited Wild5 Adventures and also Lake Eland (don’t confuse the two!). Wild5 offers the big swing for the true adrenaline junkie who wants to jump off a cliff – they also offer abseiling. They have a suspension bridge and zipline but both of these activities are way better at Lake Eland.
Lake Eland is the place to go if you wish to zipline -14 ziplines of varying lengths, speeds and heights. Great fun…. and if you feel brave and want to finish off with the extreme zipline I speak from experience when I say it is awesome and worth every penny.
Wasn’t quite what we were expecting – much busier and more built up – the bars and restaurants were heaving and it almost had a bit of a Mediterranean feel about it. However, we loved the place by the time we left. We spent a relaxed few days wandering along the promenade, visiting the pier, eating ice cream and enjoying the vast array of restaurants on offer. We did visit Durban whilst we were here to do a Segway tour and, whilst it is only our opinion, we wished we hadn’t wasted our time. We felt Durban was quite run down and had little to offer.
We loved it! A small seaside village; very different to anywhere else we have stayed in SA in that there are no electric fences and locked gates and you can wander around to your heart’s content with no worries. The only thing you are warned about are the hippos wandering the streets at night – although try as we might (and believe me we drove everywhere looking for the blighters!) we never did see one.
The area has so much to do and whilst there we enjoyed the hippo and croc tour on the estuary, drove to Cape Vidal, spent a day in Hluhluwe and went whale watching. They were a fabulous few days and Cape Vidal should not be missed – the drive there is great fun and the beach is breathtaking – we could have stayed for days! Whilst the day safari we did in Hluhluwe was enjoyable, we did feel the animal sightings were limited (obviously we were just unlucky). The whale watching was a holiday highlight – our original trip was cancelled due to bad weather but Advantage Tours did everything possible to reschedule and two days later we were out on the sea enjoying a pod of about 6 whales – truly an unforgettable experience.
Rhino River Lodge
And so our last stop was at the Manyoni Game Reserve staying at Rhino River Lodge. It’s really well run with some fantastic staff and guides. Over 3 days we had excellent animal sightings, seeing all of the big 5 very close up. The highlight? Being stuck in the middle of a herd of about 20 elephants, some within mere inches of the truck. On the day we left they sent us on our way with delicious bacon and egg sandwiches as we didn’t have time for breakfast.
If you are undecided where to visit in South Africa, KZN really does have so much to offer. Whether you like busy bars, deserted beaches, wildlife or adrenaline filled activities, you definitely will not be disappointed. Would we return? Hell yes!!